Ardmore gunning for third final title

MANY of the heroes of Ardmore’s historic Waterford intermediate hurling county final victory last Saturday are back in action again this afternoon, with the seaside club bidding to retain its Under 21 ‘A’ football title against Rathgormack at Walsh Park (2.30pm).

This eagerly awaited decider is one of three football county finals down for decision in the Decies this weekend. Tomorrow the same Walsh Park venue hosts a doubleheader with Clashmore and Newtown set to do battle in the intermediate grade preceded by the meeting of An Gaeltacht and Dunhill/Fenor in the ‘B’ minor football final.

Ardmore has been a hive of unbridled celebration following the historic hurling win last weekend which gives the club its place in the 2003 county senior hurling championship for the very first time. However the Under 21 footballers have had to cut themselves off from all of the high jinks in preparation for today’s eagerly awaited renewal of rivalry with Rathgormack.

As with the hurling final last week Ardmore stand on the threshold of history in this one too. They are on course for a hat trick of Under 21 titles in the code, and to date no club has ever achieved that. Coincidentally they defeated Rathgormack in the 2000 final and Tramore were their victims last year.

Captained by Declan Prendergast they will parade more than half of their intermediate hurling final winning team, and while Rathgormack can be expected to mount the strongest of challenges Ardmore should justify favouritism and make it three Under 21 titles on the trot.

Tomorrow’s intermediate final could be one of the best in years, with a place in next year’s senior championship as an added bonus.

Clashmore will parade two current county senior players, midfielder Karl O’Keeffe and centre forward Stephen Barron, but while this duo are regarded as their trump cards, Clashmore can also lay claim to quality players in Michael Fenton, Pat Lombard, Philip Dee, Roger Ryan, Pat Hynes, Paudie O’Rourke and Brian O’Neill.

Their replay defeat of Ring in the West divisional final was impressive, and playing to their true potential they will be very difficult to beat.

Newtown are led by county hurling star Peter Queally, and in Andy and Michael Hubbard, Jimmy and Davy Dunphy, Richard and Thomas Kirwan he has able back up.

It’s a difficult one to call, and while Clashmore will be regarded as the marginal favourites don’t be at all surprised if it takes another day to determine the destination of the title.

The curtain raiser at 1pm will pit An Gaeltacht and Dunhill/Fenor in opposition in the county minor football ‘B’ final with the latter seeking to complete a championship double having already captured the hurling title with victory over Brickey Rangers.

They’ll be strongly fancied to do just that, but An Gaeltacht, with the brilliant Laim O’ Lionain leading their charge, should not be discounted.

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